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Published: February 9th 2007
From Hampi we headed south through Bangalore (India's silicon valley), Mysore (famous for silks and sandlewood), the Vytheri rainforest (with its amazing tea, coffee and cardaman plantations - I will try and upload some photos if I get the chance) and into Kerela.
Our first stop was a place called Kannur where we found the most idyllic beach in the whole of India so far and enjoyed it pretty much all to ourselves. We spent our time is what's called a homestay, where we were living and eating with an Indian family. We also got invited to a local ritual called a 'Theyyam' which is a religious festival which takes place for a variety of celebrations and involves some rather eccentric dressing up, dancing and worshipping. Ours was for a housewarming, aiming to ward off any bad spirits in the families' new home, it was fascinating. In addition Simon got taken off by the men of the house to consume the local alcohol -'Todi' while I was mingling with the ladies all night, eating cakes, drinking tea and gossiping - perfect x
From here we then went South to Fort Cochin, where we then took a bus (which incidentally
crashed into another bus on the way but all was ok) to arrive in a place on the famous Keralan backwaters called Allapuzha.
This was one of the dreams i had been waiting for since we arrived in India, the chance to hire a houseboat and live on the backwaters for a day and night and see just what river living was like.
It was incredible, firstly we stayed in a hut actually on the backwaters where we could just watch daily life passing us by and also indulge in some Ayurvedic massage(indulge is really not the right word as you basically have 2 or 3 women covering you in hot oil and rubbing you to death for about an hour, after which you take a really cold shower) However, you do feel amazing afterwards though and for a few days after that too.
We then hired a houseboat, an old rice barge converted for sleeping, eating and enjoying yourselves complete with a crew, who were really friendly guys which we ended up drinking whiskey with and learning new card games from into the night.
The day was incredible, we sailed through the waterways,
so peacefully, lapping up how the locals live, doing their shopping, transporting goods, going to school, running their businesses on the waters edge. I think the pictures tell the tale really, such serenity and such a realxing way to live life. Imagine doing everything by boat and therefore the times it takes and the in built patience you have. Everyone appeared so calm and so content from the children to adults, washing themselves and the family clothes along the edge of the water.
The next day we thought we experience the local transport too and took a local ferry for 2 hours to the next town along the backwaters - apnther great experience, with an incredible amount of wildlife as well as local goings on.
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